Thursday, December 30, 2010

What I'm Reading Now

Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt (Random House 2010). I found this third and final volume of Morris's magisterial biography of one of our greatest presidents, and one of the most interesting personalities of the twentieth century, under the Christmas tree (or, as I call it, the Hannukah bush). Morris writes with a literary flair that other biographers must envy.

Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus (Vintage 1999 [1947]). It is a special pleasure of the winter break period to re-read great masterworks. Nearly all of Mann's works would qualify in that category. He is my favorite novelist of any time and place, even though I cannot (I am sorry to say) read him in the original German. This book, which he wrote while in exile (in the US) during World War II, displays Mann's remarkable ability to become truly expert in, and write fluently about, highly technical fields - in this case, musical composition - far removed from his own training and experiences. My version of the book is not that pictured on the left. I have an old, dog-eared edition of the original English translation by H.T. Lowe-Porter.

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